Romania. Ursus Breweries’ volumes drop 8%

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In the financial year ended at March 31st, 2011 Ursus Breweries’ volumes declined by 8% in an economy which is slow to recover. Consumer confidence continues to be seriously impacted by government austerity measures and a decline in real wages. Despite this low consumer confidence, which lead to an overall down-trading of the market, Ursus Breweries succeeded in capturing growth in value by focusing on developing a healthy brand and pack portfolio, that respond to all consumer’s consumption occasion needs, it said.

TIMISOREANA continues to be “Romania’s favorite beer” and the biggest brand on the Romanian beer market, its story going farther, holding share in the mainstream segment. As leader of the premium segment, URSUS brand built further equity supported by the new communication story. URSUS Non-Alcohol continued for the 4th year in a row to grow volumes and share, whilst URSUS Black, with a new recipe containing three types of malt: one for the colour, one for the flavour and one for the taste, more than doubled its volume. Volumes in Cluj grew in the 4th quarter due to locally impactful activity with consumers and trade.

CIUCAS re-launch, “nature’s favorite beer”, in the second half of the year saw a profound change in visual identity, packaging, communication and the interaction with consumers and trade. The re-launch placed the brand in the mainstream segment and supported a very strong value share and important volume share growth. Strong pack mix performance was driven by national sales of the CAN. As equity builds we continue to see momentum behind the brand.

GROLSCH launch exceeded expectations in volume, value, impact and equity development. The unconventional communication plan and the experimentalist spirit of Grolsch created a new trend, very favorable for the consumers.

Our robust cost management performance was based on the company redefining its production footprint, with the closure of the Cluj brewery, the restructuring of our route to market and powerful marketing effectiveness programmes to drive return of investments.

“We have made a deliberate decision to focus on building beer market value, driving profitable growth and not chasing volume increases at any cost. Our top priorities remain in the areas of building our brands, delighting consumers with the highest quality beers, but also with new beer experiences such as the fresh URSUS unfiltered to be served in the new mini-brewery in Cluj”, said Gary Whitlie, President Ursus Breweries. “We will also continue our focus to improve efficiency and productivity and to achieve improved financial performance, all in order to secure the healthy, profitable growth of our business”, Gary Whitlie added.